Does smoking help those with mental health issues?

Smoking, stress and mental health issues.

There is an interesting recent article from Stanford School of Medicine relating to research into smoking and it’s effects on patients who are in mental health care. Contrary to the long held assumptions that smoking can help some psychiatric patients with their recovery new research comes to the conclusion that this is not necessarily a valid assumption.

The article Psychiatric patients given smoking-cessation treatment less likely to be rehospitalized, scientist finds is worth reading and some of the points it raises show very much the thinking going on in every smoker’s minds before they quit.

  • It was interesting that the research showed that patients who quit smoking using the programme were actually less likely to be hospitalised again for their psychiatric conditions. What I see here is that smokers often say that without cigarettes they would not be able to cope with life yet here we have people with serious mental health issues actually coping better without cigarettes.
  • It was noted that the long held view that patients would not be able to cope with their stress without cigarettes did not hold true and in fact the daily cycle of nicotine and withdrawal actually caused even more stress. This is what a smoker does on a daily basis. They are on a constant cycle of stress/relief/stress that takes a real toll on the body’s physiology and nervous system.
  • Perhaps not surprisingly the tobacco companies have supported this “smoking whilst in therapy” idea and sponsored their own research into it!
  • The idea that smoking calms the nerves holds up only when a smoker is in a state of withdrawal. However this only lasts momentarily and the smoker is back on the destructive highs and lows that do nothing for the long term health of psychiatric patients or for that matter anyone else.
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